ED BOARD: If you can, support local journalism

The Daily Evergreen looks back on how pandemic has changed everything

The+newsroom+is+what+makes+us+editors%2C+and+the+print+paper+is+what+makes+us+newspaper+journalists.+Without+either%2C+it%27s+been+hard+to+do+well+at+those+jobs.

ANNIKA ZEIGLER

The newsroom is what makes us editors, and the print paper is what makes us newspaper journalists. Without either, it’s been hard to do well at those jobs.

Crazy semester, right?

Nearly 125 years ago student journalists began the Evergreen, a monthly edition that went over news from Washington State College. For the milestone in our history, editors at The Daily Evergreen planned our semester thinking we would be able to dedicate an entire edition celebrating how much it has changed. We planned several special editions, actually. Our editorial team was bigger than it had been in a long time and had the work ethic to prove our existence to the school again. Honestly, it was an exciting time to celebrate the 125th year of the best regional daily student newspaper.

Then a pandemic happened.

None of us expected COVID-19 to uproot our lives in the way it has. Producing the paper in the newsroom is a quintessential part of working at a newspaper, especially a paper with the autonomy we are lucky to have. We made the switch OK, but so many of our projects had to get put on the back-burner until they were snuffed completely. Moreover, we as student journalists had to watch so much of the local news we admired take blow after blow. It’s scary to see the industry you plan to make a career in suffer, especially when all you can really do is stare blankly and hope for the best. 

The pandemic has done a number on our ability to report and, frankly, to function as students in general. However, somehow, someway, we did it. That in and of itself is a cause for celebration — even a small one. 

It has been over a month since Gov. Jay Inslee announced the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, and he announced that it is getting extended beyond May 4. Our newsroom has not had to handle something like this for a long time, if ever, and it likely won’t for a while after this is over. In losing the valuable personable experience, we are reaffirmed in how special The Daily Evergreen is and the importance of college newsrooms. 

Some of us still have the time to stay at WSU and some of us do not. It is oddly heartbreaking to think this is how some of us will end our university experience. This paper has become a part of all of us in a way not many things do. Having to change our daily operations is unsettling to say the least. It is frustrating, disappointing and terribly gut-wrenching, and yet no word can really describe it. Regardless, we are still publishing online and we can only hope people are still reading. If you are, thank you. 

Not the most positive outlook, is it? Overall, we feel lucky we have had the support of our student media board and that most of us were able to retain our jobs. We’re lucky to have the general support of many local journalists and the WSU administration. While staying optimistic isn’t easy for anybody right now, we know we will get through this. Eventually, a new normal will be established and the craziness of the pandemic will, gradually, go away. In the meantime, good luck. Stay healthy. If you can, support local journalism.